Feliz Dia de los Muertos

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Feliz Dia de los Muertos! On this day may you remember your loved ones who have passed on. Today I honor all four of my grandparents, my father and my best friend from high school.

May they walk in peace and enjoy a tasty pink cookie and some tequila on their journey.



My sugar skull looks a little more cranky than I had intended.
And yes, I slapped an Instagram filter on there. I don’t care what that says about me.

Oh yes, this is one of my favorite times of the year. I love Day of the Dead and all the traditions that go with it.

I also love the art and I love making my own Day of the Dead art too. (may I never forget my New Mexico roots)

Since I haven’t really had my crafting skills on much lately (work and life and no craft space in the new apartment) I was sort of jonesing for some day of the dead art.

All it took was a few office supplies and a really long and incredibly boring conference call.






Much love and peace to all as they remember in their own way.

Happy Weekend to all!!






Photos and drawing Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page. Photos taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app.



Decision Time: Do unto others as was done unto me?

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So the good news is, I get to hire a new person to my team. We really need the help. Oh boy could we use the help.

And I think we’ve found the right person for the job (after quite a long recruiting process), oh joy!!

So as the paperwork goes through approvals and I wait, I was given the go ahead to start outfitting the cubicle and equipment for this new starter.

Yay!

Now, let’s go back a bit in time. Cue the wavy lines as we go back over two years ago.

To the day when I started this job. I was fresh faced and full of optimism and enthusiasm and other words ending in m.

My new boss ushered me to my office. Hard walls! A window! A door!

Then he handed me a laptop. Ker. Thunk.

In my previous gig I had been blissfully using a sleek, speedy Mac and this…thing…that was placed into my hands was a Dell.

A Dell. *shriek!*

Not only a Dell, but an almost three year old Dell that was running, horror of horrors, Windows XP. In the year 2010.

I was told that:

1) The Company keeps laptops for three years. Three years exactly, no early upgrades. This machine wasn’t quite three years old so tough luck kiddo.

2) Windows XP was the only authorized operating system at that time.

3) The Company does a big bulk purchase once a year and we get smoking hot discounts during that time. So even if the machine was older then three years, I couldn’t get a new one until Buying Season.

So, I did what a new hire does. I made it work. It was the slowest, saddest, boat anchor of a machine I think I’ve ever known. I bitched incessantly as it locked up and had to be restarted again. And again. And again.

I waited long enough and was a good little girl and magically buying season arrived AND my machine’s three years expired and I was finally able to order a new machine.

A brand spanking new Dell that ran…Windows XP.

Oh fine. It was faster and the keyboard didn’t contain food and hair and skin particles from my predecessor (I so wish I was kidding about that), and the screen wasn’t cracked.

So I was happy!

The piece of crap I had used was dutifully sent to recycling. I hope they crushed it.

About a year later, I had to replace someone who left my team to work in another team within the same organization. My boss told her to take her machine with her. And so she did.

When I hired someone, it was not the Buying Season and I had to dig up a boat anchor of a Dell to give him that would take a coffee and a smoke break when my employee asked it to do simple spreadsheet things.

But he was a new employee and fresh faced and full of optimism and enthusiasm and other words ending in m, and he endured. Buying Season finally came unto him and he bought a new spiffy machine, and by this time the IT organization had approved Windows 7 so he was FLYING. Pivot tables! Moving graphics on PowerPoint. Weeeee!

Which brings us back to now. I’m still using the machine that was purchased two and a half years ago. As cheap PC’s are want to do, it has sloooooowed down considerably.

My PC will have a third birthday in about six months. The start of Buying Season is about nine months away.

I can make it last. Right?

At a recent group luncheon, one of my peers (who started right around the same time I did) talked about how he’d just hired a new person too. And how he’d ordered a new machine for them (we are currently in the buying season) and how he took the new machine for himself and gave his two year old machine to the new guy.

My eyes widened. “You can do that?”

“Of course,” he said. “I got a crappy machine when I started here. It’s a tradition.”

Which got me to thinking. You see, as mentioned, it is the Buying Season now and I ordered a new machine for my new hire and this year The Company upgraded the standard from Dell to Lenovo and it’s a pretty nice machine.

It was delivered on Monday and it’s in the box under my desk right at this minute.

So. Do I break the chain and give New Employee a new machine?

Or do I scoop that damn thing up and give him my not that old and not that terrible machine?

I have a few weeks to decide just what kind of person I want to be.







Cartoon vulture found on How To Draw Cartoons Online.



No, Really…How DID I Get Here? Again.

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And the earth turns and the seasons change and yet, the patterns remain.

This week I attended the same trade show as I attended last year. It’s a landmark in my company’s year.

The progression is something like: Summer. Performance reviews. Attend trade show.

It’s overwhelmingly large and despite this being my third year attending, it never gets any easier or less overwhelming.

Last year was particularly challenging, and I wrote the post you’ll see below. Rereading it, I’m back there in that same time and same place.

In fact, I was reminded of the post when I walked past that exact same mailbox on that exact same street and stopped. “Oh,” I thought to myself. “Yeah. Last year. A very, very sad day.”

I had to stand there a moment and let the sadness in. I had to mark the time. I had to make sure I didn’t forget.

“Then I straightened my spine, threw my shoulders back and walked ahead to meet my boss because he’s in town from London and has terrible jet lag.”

Because over time, some things change and some things don’t.

Happy Friday, ya’ll.



_________________________

Originally published October 6, 2011

How Did I Get Here?


Yesterday was not what I’d call an ordinary day by any definition.

Let’s roll back a few days to give you the backstory.

On Friday I stood shoulder to shoulder with my best friend inside an auction barn in Las Cruces. We tried to talk over the drone of an auctioneer and watched the local 4H kids walk their animals around a pen while local businessmen bid up the price.

On Tuesday, I stood on the show floor of one of the largest IT conventions in the US, surrounded by the drone of booth workers shouting out to passerby as I tried my very best to be all business.

I have to say, it was a bit disorienting. I guess that 180 degree turn in the span of just five days is the closest example I can get of who I am. Both auction barn and big corporate.

Yesterday was my second day attending the show and I was doing my best to stay grounded in the midst of the chaos that is any trade show.

While waiting for a morning meeting, I idly checked my email on my iPhone. I saw a note from one of my aunts letting me know that a dear uncle of mine had passed away. He had gone through a long and valiant battle with cancer, and for a while he got topside on that demon. Sadly, just yesterday he lost the fight.

I was instantly crushed and heartbroken. I couldn’t begin to imagine how my aunt must be managing. I’d sat with my mom in the days after my dad passed, and I know that for a woman to lose her husband of 40-plus years is a long, sorrowful journey. It is a world turned upside down.

Glancing at the clock, I saw it was time to go, so I put on my game face and got back to work.

Later I had to meet with a Senior VP of the company who demands answers as he fires off questions from a fire hose and I do my best to keep up. He’s brilliant but irascible.

After I finished with Mr VP, it was off to another meeting with a telecom carrier, and then a hardware manufacturer, and then…and then…..

It was a brutal day and I had gotten up extra early to get to San Francisco through morning traffic and suddenly the lack of sleep caught up with me. My legs and back ached.

But I pushed forward.

When the day was mostly over, it was time to go to the big celebration to close the show, a huge event put on over at Treasure Island.

I changed clothes in a dingy bathroom and then set out for the meet-up spot to catch a shuttle bus. I got myself turned around and walked about three blocks in the wrong direction, only to turn and walk back against of tide of city people at the end of their day.

I was tired, sweaty, in pain and generally DONE with the day when my iPhone buzzed. The Good Man conveyed to me the sad news about Steve Jobs.

As I had worked for the man for a decade, I felt a certain affinity for him and at that moment, it was the straw that broke me.

I leaned against a mailbox on New Montgomery street, while cars honked, police officers directed traffic and busses coughed fumes, and I cried.

I cried because after traveling then working at this show, I am worn down to a nub. I cried because I did a terrible job of comforting my godkids last week as I found myself at a loss to explain why their pigs had to die. I cried because my uncle was a good man with a good life but grief never gets easier. I cried because the passing of a legend means the end of a very profound era.

It’s just a little to much death in too short a time frame.

Sometimes when it’s all built up inside you and the pressure cooker is about to blow, and you’ve found the end of your tether, crying is just a real good way to let off some steam.

It only lasted a few minutes. Then I straightened my spine, threw my shoulders back and walked ahead to meet my boss because he’s in town from London and has terrible jet lag. He relied on me to help get him to the right shuttle. And my supplier expected me to “say some words” to the team. And every one expected me to be adult and professional when I felt anything but.

Thankfully I met up with a couple friends out on the island. They handed me beer and gave me nodding, knowing looks.

And today, while still sad, I’m trying to be myself again.

Or in the immortal words of Stevie Ray Vaughan, I’m “walking the tightrope/both day and night”






Image from Agent Faircloth



My Country Tis of Thee

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Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.Source


And so it is on this Fourth of July in the year 2012 that I find myself, an American citizen, residing in the land from which our forefathers sought their independence.

236 years ago a bunch of men and women fought to establish a new country, away from the oppression of an overbearing king.

A challenging fight for a worthy goal.

Their victory and the resulting independence is so enduring that two centuries later I can get on an airplane, fly for ten hours, and stand here, on the Thames river, and celebrate my freedom.

It’s both ironic and a little bit alienating.

The drafters of the Declaration could never have imagined.

I’d sing the Star Spangled Banner, but these sodding Brits might remind me that our country’s anthem is set to the tune of a British pub song.

I’d sing “My Country Tis of Thee” but that’s just “God Save the Queen” to this lot.

How about God Bless America? Nah, Kate Smith ruined that one for me.

I suppose what I’ll do to mark the day is simply get up from my bed, go to work (it’s not a holiday here) and do my best. I might even quaff a beer and wish I was at a bbq enjoying a sunny summer day rather than another depressing rainy English day.

And next week when I return home to the shores of California, I’ll carry a small smile.

Because I think to truly understand and appreciate my country, I have to leave it every once in a while.

Happy Independence Day, America! May you all eat too many hot dogs and have an extra bowl of homemade ice cream for me.




The river Thames as seen from the Westminster Bridge



Photo Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page. Photo taken with an iPhone4s and the Camera+ app.




Ethically Correct, but Way Less Fun

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I got an advance peek at the agenda for the wedding I’m going to this weekend. There’s all the usual stuff you’d expect, including the part where the bride and groom leave the reception to go start their new life together. Bubbles will be handed out to attendees to herald their departure.

It used to be rice, but rice proved to be unhealthy for the birds who ate it and got bad tummy aches.

Then it moved to birdseed, which was awesome for the birds, but not so good for the wedding venues who had to try to shoo a million fat pigeons away. And then power wash all that poop. Ugh.

So now, we’re at bubbles. Water based. Ethically correct. Fun in their own way, but not really as fun as rice or birdseed.

I remember well when I was just a young’un back in high school and I attended by brother’s wedding. When the time came for the bride and groom to head out, a bag of birdseed was dropped into my palm. I opened it and dumped the contents into my hand. As my brother walked by with his beautiful bride, I’d intended to sort of toss it and shower the happy couple.

Somehow in my over zealousness, I overhanded the batch and power drove a pile of birdseed into my sibling.

At first I was horrified.

Then I laughed my ass off. Um. Whoops.

And now, some 26 years later (has it really been 26 years? Wow. Happy Anniversary you crazy kids) the memory still kind of makes me laugh.

A lot. Out loud. Not because I powerblasted my brother, that was rude. Because I often crack myself up at what a complete wackadoodle I can be.

For the couple marrying this weekend, I probably would have given them a nice gentle rice toss and avoided any grievous harm, as I’m both older and wiser. Suffice to day I won’t be causing any physical harm with a bubble this weekend. Really, it’s better this way.

Except for my dress (as yet to be purchased) because I always end up spilling soapy bubble water down my front in my over zealousness. See? Whackadoodle.

Really, what this all means is that I need to cool my jets a little better and keep myself in low gear. I intend to try (some but not too much) wine, maybe beer, to suit this purpose. (Too much = exponential wackadoodle)

Perhaps a couple glasses of bubbly? Hmm……






Today’s Theme Thursday is: bubbles